Annual Report 2016

Thomas Adelt and Christian Römmele

VR-AgrarInvestplan – a digital approach to planning capital expenditure projects

Nowadays, even farmers start the working day on a computer, for example by looking at the weather forecast, checking grain prices, or analyzing their latest livestock data.

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Thomas Adelt and Christian Römmele


However, the increasing digital management of agriculture is not just limited to these practical tasks. Farmers are also using online channels in connection with necessary capital expenditure projects, both to search for the equipment they need to buy and to find financing solutions that offer broader financial latitude.

DZ BANK has identified this demand and looked for a way of offering financing solutions to local cooperative banks’ agricultural customers even before a specific financing requirement has been determined from a capital expenditure project. In 2016, local cooperative banks extended agricultural loans totaling almost €2 billion from public-sector development loans. The 365FarmNet digital platform, which is already used by more than 10,000 people in the agriculture business to obtain information and manage their businesses, now also hosts VR-AgrarInvestplan, a new application developed by DZ BANK.

€1,996 million was the total value of agricultural loans extended by cooperative banks in 2016 from public-sector development loans.
Smart access to development funding opportunities

Thomas Adelt explains the initiative from the Investment Promotion division: “The new tool provides farmers with smart access to key information on public-sector development loans and suggests individualized ways in which users can optimize their own finances with the help of banks in the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken cooperative financial network.” Formalities are cut to a minimum by using data already available in the 365FarmNet system.

The VR-AgrarInvestplan includes a news feed that supplies details on key areas of development lending, the latest development offers for agricultural businesses, and information on other topics relevant for farmers. Agricultural businesses can use the development funding check to obtain – without any obligation – a fast overview of development funding options suitable for their capital expenditure projects. Subsequently, the integrated bank search function connects the farmer specifically with the chosen financing partner from the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken cooperative financial network. The first prototype of VR-AgrarInvestplan was presented at the EuroTier trade fair, where it attracted a huge amount of interest.

“The new tool provides farmers with smart access to key information on public-sector development loans and suggests individualized ways in which users can optimize their own finances ...”

Thomas Adelt

The VR-AgrarInvestplan was one of the first projects developed in the newly created DZ BANK Innovation Lab using scrum methodology. Christian Römmele, who was involved in the product development, puts it in a nutshell: “It was only by using the agile software development approach that we could bring together all the necessary experts – from development loan advisors to programmers – around one table and develop the innovative VR-AgrarInvestplan digital product ready for market in such a short time.”